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Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Bent LORENTZEN (b 1935)
Piano Works

Colori (1978)
Goldranken (1987)
Nachtigall (1988/2000) *
Angrund (1994)
Five Easy Piano Pieces (1971)
Erik Kaltoft (piano)
Jens Schou (bass clarinet) *
Recorded, Danish Royal Academy of Music, Århus, February, March, July 2002
DACAPO 8.224246 [64.54]


Doubtless it is my loss that much of the piano music of Bent Lorentzen has caused me little but disappointment. Born in 1935 he is a distinguished composer, a prizewinner and senior figure in Danish musical life. The extensive notes to this exceptionally well-produced disc are fulsome about the pieces and descriptive to a great extent. Sympathetic though I am to all of this I found the disparity – perhaps it’s better to say the disparity I found – between textual exegesis and musical reality too great a gap. Colori depicts five different colours. Marcato single notes, drilled or hammered notes, contemplative stasis and treble glint accompanied by insistent flurries are the means employed to convey the colouristic potential embedded in the music. Nail scrapes on the strings are also used to convey glissandi and "knocking chords". None of these procedures are in any way antithetical in themselves to my enjoyment – but the music is.

Goldranken is slow moving, rather delicate and dull. Nachtigall for piano and bass clarinet is in unconventional form and lasts over thirteen minutes. It is well played by the performers. Abgrund (1994) is written in a much fuller, chordal style. The notes refer to this as his Wagner-inspired chromatic period and the difference between the sparse writing of the other works and the insistence of this is striking. There is a spirit of toughness and active determination in the first part and a more free spirited treble oriented abandon in the second. The Five Easy Pieces with which this disc ends were his first published piano works back in 1971 and are minimalist squibs.

Jonathan Woolf


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